Customer reviews: Holidays in The Loire
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop and, where necessary, improve our services and ensure our all holidays continue to be the best they can be.
Eveyone who travels with Headwater will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assesment of all aspects of their all holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their all holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
By Mr Bennett on 14/09/2016
An excellent first bike trip to the Loire, with 8 nights seeming just about right. We could not have eaten much more of the multiple courses of excellent food. Lovely experience to visit so many interesting towns, villages and chateaux en route, without having to drag the luggage around. Some beautiful countryside and riverside landscapes to explore. Comprehensive maps, directions and travel tips - as well as very helpful and professional Reps - were very useful to help us get the most out of the trip.
By Mr Heyes on 14/09/2016
Our first holiday with Headwater but it won't be the last. We enjoyed seeing France from a different angle and at a slower pace.
By Mrs Riviere on 30/08/2016
This is a great family holiday: the cycling was pretty easy for all of us (the children were 15, 13 and 10), but there was enough challenge for us to feel proud of ourselves by the end of the week. The routes were incredibly easy to follow, and took us through wonderfully varied terrain - through beautiful fields of sunflowers, past vineyards, through shady forests and along the rivers Cher and Loir. Every day brought something new to see or do. The roads were all quiet and there were lots of well-maintained cycle paths. The hotels were well-chosen and welcoming, and the only downside of the week was that we ate far too much delicious food! The back-up from James and Hazel, the local reps, was fantastic, and the bikes themselves were excellent. We're looking forward to another cycling holiday soon!
By Mrs Fuller on 30/08/2016
lovely holiday with easy cycling through attractive countryside and interesting hotels each with their own charms.
By Mrs Moynihan on 23/08/2016
We had a superb holiday cycling in the Loire Valley. At times I felt i was cycling through a picture postcard, the scenery was so beautiful. The cycling was manageable for our 12 year old twins and the bikes were an excellent standard. The roads were quiet and the French were very polite and patient with cyclists (unlike British drivers!). The food was excellent quality
By Mrs Shorney on 23/08/2016
Beautiful scenery, wonderful dining and comfortable cycling in a lovely part of the country
By Mr Lowe on 19/08/2016
The local team gave us really useful practical tips and were very friendly
The holiday exceeded our expectations in terms of pure enjoyment, accuracy of walking routes and notes and we particularly appreciated the views, suggested stops for refreshments and quality of the hotels we stayed in
By Mrs Took on 17/08/2016
This was a very enjoyable holiday exceeding my expectations. The walks and walking notes were great, the included meals were extremely good and the Headwater contacts, James and Hazel were excellent - very friendly and helpful. I loved having a day off between the walks to explore the area surrounding our hotels or to simply relax by the pool.
By Mrs Cornish on 17/08/2016
Gentle cycling through beautiful countryside - with stunning chateaux to visit - fabulous fragrances in the air - luxurious accommodation and wonderful food and wine. At the end we were fitter - but possibly fatter too!
By Mr Hutchison on 16/08/2016
I can't imagine any other type of holiday that is so satisfying in terms of exercise combined with relaxation, visiting new places, and truly excellent food & drink.
By Ms Young on 16/08/2016
The area is beautiful with many castles to visit and easy to cycle. Food is gourmet & delicious, many restaurants and cafes on route. Plenty of history. Weather is great. Though problems I mentioned need to be dealt with.
By Mr Clare on 08/08/2016
Some superb chateaux to visit along the route. Gentle walking. Beware of biting insects.
By Mr Turner on 08/08/2016
A really good walk across the Loire Valley. Highly recommended
By Mr Merryweather on 08/08/2016
Leisurely cycling tour through beautiful and quiet countryside with leisurely breaks at excellent hotels, providing sufficient time to visit chateaux and gardens along the way.
By Mr Strauss on 25/07/2016
We can warmly recommend the Loire Gastronomic Cycling holiday which is particularly suitable for the reasonably fit and active over-65s. The hotels are excellent and all had swimming pools, the meals were really delicious and the cycling was not too strenuous. The countryside is stunning, as are the many chateaux along the route which are of special interest and add greatly to the enjoyment of the holiday.
By Mrs Southwell on 25/07/2016
Great holiday - easy cycling on quiet roads and cycle routes - delightful reps and first class hotels and food. A very successful Gastronomic holiday.
By Mrs Cant on 15/07/2016
all in all - good trip, excellent gear - too much food!
By Mr Dunn on 27/06/2016
An exciting and demanding adventure with the reward of wonderful food in beautiful surroundings.
By Mr Crossley on 16/06/2016
Good alternative holiday
By Dr Brech on 26/10/2015
Another excellent Headwater holiday. This was one of the flattest ones we have done with some undulation only on the first and last days. Most of the route was on tracks through the forest, cycle paths and minor roads - it was only crossing the river in Amboise that we encountered alarming traffic. The hotels were all good, the food excellent. Along with other Headwater guests, we found the meals at the Manoir Bel Air too overwhelming - but it was easy to ask to drop a course. Lots of different chateaux to visit and we spent an additional two days in Chitenay which enabled us to go back and spend a complete day in Blois (an easy cycle ride through the forest and on cycle-tracks) and to further explore the area.
By Mr Coombs on 15/10/2015
We really enjoyed the holiday which was very well organised. The only slight downsides were that the route notes were ambiguous on occasion and we got lost on a few occasions meaning that the distances were somewhat longer than they should have been and it would have been really appreciated if all 4 hotels had carried our luggage up to our room. Two hotels did this but it was no fun after a long day's cycling having to carry all our bags up 2 flights of stairs.
By Mrs Iron on 06/10/2015
In one word.....relaxing......because of the fantastic accommodation in great locations, simplicity of directions and easy routes with plenty of see and do along the way, topped off with superb food every evening! Hassle free holiday, thank you.
By Mrs Sanderson on 01/10/2015
We have done many Headwater cycling holidays, and this was very good. The routes were relatively easy, but there were plenty of options to do your own thing too. Accommodation and food great.
By Dr Dixon on 30/09/2015
Excellent concept of relatively easy cycling (30km/day) in pleasant countryside. Plenty of places (e.g. chateaux) to visit on the way. Some fantastic food experience (i.e. at l'Aubiniere) that merits the word 'gastronomic'. L'Auberge du Centre was competent too. Chateaux de Chissay was the one disappointment - with poor levels of service - going through the motions but not really getting it unlike l'Aubiniere. They also had large tour parties (Taiwanese in our case) at Chissay which detracted from the experience and the service level in particular.
By Mr Maher on 23/09/2015
This is a very pleasant holiday and easy enough for people over 65. There is plenty of interest in the towns along the way - and plenty of chateaux, if that's your go. The weather was a bit mixed in mid-September, but we had good company on the ride which made up any disappointment. We had done the Loire Gastronomic a decade earlier, but the route has changes significantly and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Our ride this time was trouble-free, but the Headwater agents were very helpful always at hand if needed.
By Mr John on 21/09/2015
We had initially considered a Headwater walking tour of Loire as my wife is not a confident cyclist. But reading the website comments - decided Loire region was quite poor walking country but great cycling country. My wife more than coped with the itinerary and we are both raring to go on our next Headwater cycling holiday next year when we will both be 69!
Hotels and meals all excellent but we did feel that the rooms we stayed in at Chissay were a bit tired and in need of renovation, hence the fair rating.
Your HQ staff gave us excellent advice and James and Hazel as tour managers were the most brilliant ever encountered and helped make an excellent experience.
By Mrs Craig on 18/09/2015
We had an excellent, well organised holiday ,in beautiful surroundings with delicious food and wine. It was at the correct standard for our level of cycling.
The reps were efficient, friendly, and well informed. The three hotels were very different but all very comfortable with excellent food.
This was our third cycling holiday in France with headwater and by far the best. Previous holidays , Brittany and Canal du Midi, were not such good value and conditions more challenging.
By Mr Beaney on 18/09/2015
The food was excellent but having 5 course gourmet dinners every night was probably more than we really needed. The hotels were all very comfortable and very different with genuinely excellent restaurants and helpfull staff.
By Mr Patterson on 04/09/2015
The gastronomic cycling holiday was a great way to see the Loire valley up close. The notes for cycling were easy to follow and enabled us to enjoy the holiday at our own pace. The bikes were well maintained with a comfy gel saddle which ensured no aches and pains were felt in unwanted places! On this holiday you can keep fit and build up an appetite for the excellent French cuisine and wines which you enjoy guilt-free and come home the same weight as when you left.
By Mr Herron on 25/08/2015
Fabulous holiday, very well planned. We were immersed in the countryside and every day we saw beautiful places that we would never have seen travelling by car. Every night we ate a sumptuous meal of fabulous quality. A real joy.
By Mr Higgins on 11/08/2015
Excellent all round except for the dreadful welcome at Bel Air (the lady is a bit hit and miss we understand) of which we made light hearted remarks!
The highlight hotel was the Auiberge du Centre at Chittenay where FOUR people took our bags to our room when we arrived.
We have been many many times with Headwater and find the routes marvellous and varied with fantastic food and hotels. All the arrangements were excellent.
By Mrs Fowler on 30/07/2015
Excellent way to enjoy an area. Taste the food and visit the local areas of interest.
By Mr Juckes on 24/07/2015
Had a fabulous time especially in view of the fact that we organised it within 24hours! Great work from Headwater on that.
Weather was brilliant too even with the 39degree heat day. It was always very supportive to know that we could call James and/or Hazel anytime form anywhere and they would help us. We did. One day, we didn't make the whole distance and were picked up without any issues at all.
I didn't take a helmet and I do feel it is compulsory for me, whatever the law. I think a bigger 'heads-up' re taking a helmet could be made, plus at least for the girls, take cycling pants.
All the meals were sensational. The routes were scenic and thoroughly enjoyable, especially the dedicated bike tracks and those along the rivers.
Loved the entire experience and working with this company. Five stars. Thank you.
By Ms Zehr on 21/07/2015
We were very happy with the entire trip. The accommodations and food were amazing. I've already recommended this vacation to several friends.
By Mr Wignall on 13/07/2015
Chateaux of the Loire is an excellent intro to Headwaters cycling holidays, excellent bicycles with professional support, gently rolling hills, routes on quiet country lanes through golden fields of ripening crops, and welcome warming sunshine . With ample opportunity to visit the numerous Chateaux on route, whilst staying in a variety of outstanding Hotels/Chateaux all with superb menues to choose from, and most with swimming pools what more is there to wish for ?. This was out 8th holiday with Headwater and it is definitely in the top 3.
By Mr Turnbull on 13/07/2015
We had a fabulous holiday, the support we got from our reps (particularly James) was of a really high standard, and definitely added to the holiday experience.
The hotels (especially Vallagon and Chissay) definitely lived up to or surpassed expectations.
This sort of holiday was new to us, but we would definitely do it again.
By Mrs Pryor-jones on 07/07/2015
We luckily met another couple on our trip with similar interests so it was lovely to meet up in the evenings with them, could have been solitary on our own.
Wouldn't do Gastronomique as food was too much and very similar menu at each hotel, No Air Con at hotel on 1st and last night and it was very hot when we were on holiday. The villages we cycled through had few shops and often seemed closed when we went through them but on the whole this wasn't a major problem. The chateaus were lovely and the hotel staff on the whole very helpful. The bikes were very good.
By Mr Baker on 23/06/2015
Apart from the excellent food and accommodation, the cycling was about as perfect as it can get: smooth, quiet gently undulating roads, considerate drivers, friendly people and good weather but not too hot. Plenty to see and visit.
By Mrs Henderson on 17/06/2015
Most enjoyable. Well planned and varied routes with excellent dining in the evening. Something for everyone.
By Mr Ricketts on 15/06/2015
As with my previous Headwater holiday in Brittany last year, the organisation and logistics of this holiday worked like clockwork, luggage was collected and delivered to successive hotels in time for my arrival. In all but one instance the hotel reception was excellent and the quality of the dining experience was commensurate with fine dining. In one hotel only, the restaurant was busy and the front of house staff were flustered and made several mistakes with my menus and orders, but this was compensated by the quality of the food and the wine suggestions of the other staff. One evening our group was taken by taxi for the evening meal to a nearby Hotel/Restaurant as our hotel's restaurant was closed for the evening. This was done with efficiency and the dining experience worth the trip. The Rep, James, made every effort to meet me when I arrived and to explain things to me and took the trouble to see me off as I left. The Reps were very helpful, sending me a postcard with their contact details on before I started the holiday, giving me the confidence that they would be there to help if anything went wrong, which I am glad to say did not happen. If you like French food and good wines this is a good choice for you. I am a keen cyclist and prefer to cycle further each day than the Headwater brochure routes. I appreciate the flexibility Headwater adopt with me in negotiating support for a longer route than the one in the brochure. I will be booking with Headwater again next year.
By Mr Betts on 21/05/2015
We were a family group of six with ages ranging from 30 to 67 and we all enjoyed the whole experience. One of our party was a vegetarian which we recognised might be a bit of a challenge for the hotels, given that this was a gastronomic experience, but she was quite happy with the range of vegetarian options available.
By Mr Smith on 16/10/2014
Compared to other companies, our view is that 'Headwater', is at the top of the tree.
By Mr Hickman on 08/10/2014
The holiday met all our expectations, as the description in your brochure proved to be accurate in all respects. The level of accommodation, in fact, exceeded expectations as did the dining experiences. Whilst not a budget holiday, you provided excellent value for money.
By Mr Henderson on 08/10/2014
Easy cycling. Good hotels with excellent food and accommodation in the main. Weather in late September was brilliant which made visits to chateaus etc more spectacular. All in all we had a really good holiday.
By Mr Bell on 08/10/2014
Beautiful area of France with easy cycling days,many interesting places to visit and, at the end of the day, mouth watering food to enjoy.
By Ms McVeigh on 16/09/2014
Great holiday with plenty of exercise. Beautiful chÃ¢teaux to visit and lovely hotels to stay with lots of fabulous food. Good idea to have a 'sat nav' or map on your mobile phone as route directions not totally accurate!
By Mrs Rawcliffe on 22/08/2014
Our Rep John was very helpful and we were aware that if we needed assistance he was only a phone call away
Also very friendly welcome
The hotels and food were great especially after a long day cycling
Will use you again next year!
By Mrs Cox on 18/08/2014
Great holiday hampered only by poor weather at times but our reps were fantastic. Chissay was lovely. How marvellous to stay in such an historic place. Every single member of staff was very helpful and friendly. We could not fault it. We could not make much use of the pool as it was not warm enough. Hotel Aubiniere was more modern and very comfortable with lovely food. again the staff were great. The Auberge was much more cramped and very busy. We struggled to be able to find somewhere to put the bikes as the shed was so full. Out of the three this was our least favourite but the food was good if a bit over fussy. A great holiday but would not want to do it for longer as the food becomes too much by the end. If we did it again we would do it without the gastronomy just simple meals.
By Mrs Barry on 28/07/2014
It was a lovely relaxing holiday. Amazing weather and the cycling routes were really easy to navigate and through beautiful parts of France. We did though feel we had earned out gastronomic dinner at the end of the day - which was perfect! Two of the hotels were lovely, at Chateau de Chissay and Hotel L'Aubiniere the facilities and food were heavenly but we didn't feel the other hotel Auberge du Centre was not quite at the same standard.
By Mr Curtis on 23/07/2014
A taste of the Loire, in more ways than one. The meal at Manoir Bel Air is possible the best you will ever encounter
By Mrs Lamont on 14/07/2014
Headwater provide a fair all around holiday
By Mr Hyne on 05/07/2014
Another excellent holiday with Headwater despite the disappointing weather! Delicious food again only wish we could have been there longer.
By Mrs Griffiths on 03/07/2014
Another amazing Headwater holiday - everything excellent as usual! John, our Rep, was really enthusiastic and informative - he was keen to find out what we were particularly interested in and then suggested relevant ideas which made the holiday extra memorable. He also gave a very professional demonstration of repairing a puncture.
By Mrs Thorp on 27/06/2014
A great holiday, well organized.
By Mrs Thomas on 23/06/2014
a great holiday with lovely places to stay at night with food that is to die for. during the day we stopped at great locations with good facilities for lunch and exploring, would love to go again as it was a great experience thank you
By Mrs Demont on 13/06/2014
Fabulous area for easy cycling, with empty roads and lots of interesting places to visit on 'rest' days. A variety of good hotels in very peaceful locations.
By Mrs Lindsay on 03/06/2014
Thanks to careful planning by Headwater our holiday ran smoothly from the initial phone call to our journey home. It was our first experience using Headwater, it exceeded all our expectations and we look forward to another holiday with them in the future.
By Dr Whittington on 31/10/2013
I really enjoyed this area of France and to cycle around made it that much more special.
By Mr Valentine on 24/09/2013
This is an excellent holiday for those that can afford it. Loads to see and do if the weather isn't wonderful. Easy cycling. Good food all the way around the trip.
By Mrs Lythell on 24/09/2013
Very well organised holiday. Quality reliable reps. Food and accommodation was good.
By Mrs Coburn on 23/09/2013
The title 'gastronomique' is deserved - the food was wonderful. The cycling was generally easy and the many chateaux were a delight. Special treats Clos-Lucé in Amboise; the gardens in Chaumont; the delightful Cheverny.
By Mr Wall on 20/09/2013
Cycling in the Loire is a great way to see the area, with the opportunity to visit at least one Chateau a day (so that by the end one is 'chattered'!). The accommodation arranged by Headwater, amazing food, and efficient back-up, all provide for a memorable holiday.
By Mrs Russell on 12/09/2013
We thought the food was at times too good, we were not expecting either the standard or quantity - which was at times off putting. The cycling distances were far enough and at our age, with the quality of bikes (could be better) not sure if we will do it again. This was I think our sixth cycling holiday with you, but the first for five years: age is catching up with us, it was sometimes a slog. We have electric bikes at home and we would definitely go on another Headwater holiday if you could organise them.
We were supposedly not on the Gourmet Menu, however it felt as if we were and to be honest, while lovely, the food was just over the top at times. There was a mix up with our arrival, totally my fault, however if Marg had just called or texted me from the station when we weren't there, (she had my number), then we would have saved ourselves a very expensive taxi ride. The reps were helpful when a bike chain jammed, although it took them an hour to reach us, and at times we thought they were very 'stretched': it seemed to be a very busy time. Hotel accommodation was generally a little lower than expected for the cost and Room 28 at the Hostellrie du Chateau was the worst: very cramped and smelt due to the sewage pipe outside the bedroom window. However, that was the friendliest hotel owner by a mile: Madame was delightful. Generally, we felt the standard of accommodation offered to Headwater guests was that of getting the poorer rooms in the hotels, but I do appreciate that often rural French hotels of this type are like that. We did have a major, irreparable puncture, fortunately discovered in the early evening of an 'off' day - when we were just planning to go for a short ride to the next village. The bikes are 'okay' but I am sure there are better ones. John was contacted and came as soon as he could, but it clearly added to the pressure the couple were under. John did ask us for money for the return transfers, claiming we were not on their list, however when I checked our invoice it definitely stated that they were included in our costs.
Nothing major to complain about, I guess we're getting a bit pickier as we get older.
By Mr Wilkinson on 12/09/2013
Very good holiday.
By Mr Alden on 28/08/2013
great fun holiday adventure
By Mr Godsall on 26/08/2013
This was our first cycling package holiday and we very much enjoyed it; just the right level of route for reasonably fit beginners. Carefully planned holiday with excellent information and service from Headwater.
By Mr Davey on 26/07/2013
Holiday very good and food very good but level of accommodation was poor.
By Mr Fenton on 18/07/2013
The cycling and support from the reps was very good. Unfortunately apart from the one hotel I would not rate the holiday as a gastronomic experience.
By Mrs MacKenzie on 11/07/2013
Overall experience excellent, weather fabulous, scenery beautiful - all-in-all our holiday came up to our expectations as with previous Headwater Cycling holidays.
By Mr Venn on 04/07/2013
Excellent Holiday: Food Excellent. Some of the hotels in need of some upgrading. Bikes great. See me separate email!
By Mrs Forbes on 29/06/2013
Gentle exercise with time to appreciate the rural surroundings; superior and varied accommodation; wonderful food and wine. We have never slept better!!
By Mrs Rodely on 24/06/2013
A wonderful holiday for food lovers with excellent accommodation and super cycling for 'softies' - the routes were nice and flat, passing through some lovely countryside with many interesting places to visit on the way.
By Mr Griffiths on 18/06/2013
This is not a cheap holiday as the Gastronomic label confirms. I've not eaten 5-6 course meals for 6 nights on the trot before, but you can get used to it very easily when the courses aren't huge. The cycling, chateaux and shivering in icy swimming pools were all great. We really enjoyed it.
By Mr Williams on 29/09/2012
We have travelled with Headwater many times (a dozen or more) and this holiday was one of the very best. The chateaux and region were wonderful, the accommodation and meals were superb, and the support given by the reps was outstanding.
By Mrs Patel on 29/09/2012
Good quality reps always availble to help you and offer advice.
By Mr Tuke on 29/08/2012
Very well organised, brilliant hotels, easy cycling through scented countryside
By Mr Browne on 29/08/2012
Your representatives exuded professionalism and gave you confidence that if any mishap occurred they would easily be able to put anything and everything right. Ian and HollY also made you feel welcome and were most knowledgeable.
We had a fantastic holiday and are now pondering where to travel with you next year!
By Mrs Kohn on 23/07/2012
Best holiday we ever had! The Headwater experience is something everybody should do.
By Mr Coster on 07/07/2012
By Mr Shepherd on 16/06/2012
Excellent, may not have been as enjoyable if the weather had not been so good.
By Mrs Carroll on 25/05/2012
a truely relaxing holiday in beautiful surroundings
well organised - no hastles for us +
By Mr Brown on 00/00/0000
Advise customers that municipal pools in France only allow tight fitting swimming trunks not baggy shorts. We could not use the pool on the way to St Die
By Ms Gane on 00/00/0000
Easy walking, lovely views and good food